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SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration returns to San Antonio with new holiday experiences

by Susan and Simon Veness

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration in San Antonio is the state’s largest holiday gala, featuring millions of sparkling lights and displays, scrumptious food and drink, festive shows and entertainment, and three brand new experiences for 2020.

seaworld's christmas celebration

It’s all about size in Texas! With the luxury of 250 acres in which to spread park goers out for safe personal distancing, the spectacular SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration returns to SeaWorld San Antonio in November and December, with health-conscious enhancements for a relaxed holiday experience.

seaworld's christmas celebration

Christmas Market returns as the event’s centerpiece attraction, with a distinctly Texan feel in its country décor, a Christmas tree made entirely of cowboy boots, and festive entertainment provided by the Christmas Bluegrass Trio. Visitors will also find mischievous elves, dazzling tunnels draped in twinkling lights, and the opportunity to share their holiday wishes with Santa Claus in a physically-distanced setting.

Several seasonal attractions have also returned. Stroll past life-sized storybook vignettes telling the story of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” at Rudolph’s Christmas Town, and meet characters from the classic tale for distanced photo opportunities.

seaworld's christmas celebration

Wander through a wintery wonderland along a candy cane inspired trail, where giant oak trees are draped in 100,000 striped red and white lights and 8-foot tall candy canes and red and white florals add to the peppermint theme.

Visit whimsical Snowman Village and take a selfie with life-sized snowmen, including The Rocker, The Punker, The King, and The Matador, each “frozen in time.” And be sure to watch for a traditional miniature train village all decked out for the holidays.

Popular seasonal shows have returned, too, in modified form or with limited capacity, including:

  • “The Story of Christmas” – Gather around a live outdoor nativity scene, where carolers extol the “reason for the season.” This touching, light-hearted experience is based on the “greatest story ever told.”
  • “The Merry Mariachis” – Enjoy classic holiday tunes with a distinctly Fiesta flair.
  • “Elmo’s Christmas Wish” – Sing and dance with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends as Cookie Monster, Rosita, Grover, and Zoe help Elmo discover his true Christmas wish in this annual show children adore. Afterwards, pose for physically distanced photos with your furry friends in their festive holiday attire.
  • “Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas” – Laugh along with the wacky duo and their friend Elfred as they try to convince Santa to pay them a visit.

Also watch for the animal attraction, “A Beluga Christmas,” set to music from “The Nutcracker,” plus live seasonal musical performances throughout the park.

SeaWorld’s elf-guided Christmas Traditions Tour also returns this year, with capacity limited to just two parties and social distancing enforced. This add-on experience includes a photo with Santa, an exclusive meet-and-greet with one of the park’s animals, reserved seating at a show, a holiday mug filled with hot chocolate, and a sparkling light-up Christmas necklace.

New in 2020 are “Hanukkah Celebration” honoring the festival of lights with the traditional lighting of the menorah on select dates throughout Hanukkah (Dec. 10-18), and “Kwanzaa Festivities” celebrating African-American culture through joyous reflection and the nightly lighting of the kinara.

Also new is the “Christmas Fireworks Finale” nighttime spectacular taking place over the park’s waterski lake. Set to favorite holiday tunes, it’s the ideal way to kick off the season of joy, and end a perfect day. The extravaganza takes place on Nov. 21 and 28 only.

seaworld's christmas celebration

It wouldn’t be Christmas without sweet treats and succulent feasts, and the 1950s-inspired Christmas Cove is the place to start. Along with game stations and fun photo opportunities, the luscious scent of a full Christmas meal wafts from Mrs. Claus’s kitchen, where visitors can indulge in Dinner with Santa. A sumptuous all-you-care-to-eat banquet of ribeye steak, turkey, ham, and all the trimmings is served up by Santa’s elves, and diners can end their meal with a physically-distanced visit and photo with Santa. Reservations are required for this dining opportunity, and extensive health and safety measures are in place.

Just looking for a treat to indulge your sweet tooth? Purchase a S’mores kit, gather around the fire, and crated your own sandwich of toasty marshmallow and chocolatey goodness! Want more? Go full-on with the larger s’mores charcuterie board.

Further festive menus include mini donuts with dips, holiday churro bites with festive toppings, seasonal candy, and steaming hot chocolate and coffee with whipped cream. Adults can warm things up even more with winter cocktails such as hot toddies, and Peppermint Schnapps or Bailey’s Irish Cream spiked hot chocolate or coffee.

seaworld's christmas celebration

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration takes place at SeaWorld San Antonio from 1-9 p.m. on Nov. 20-22 and 25-29, Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 23-27 and Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The event is included with park admission.

To help ensure guest safety during the celebration, SeaWorld has enhanced its existing protocols (mandatory face masks, temperature checks at park entry, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation throughout the park) to include strictly limited capacity for the event to allow for physical distancing. Tickets and date-specific park reservations are required.

To attend SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, purchase Single-Day or Two-Day tickets, or take advantage of the 2021 Season Pass offer, which provides entry to the park through the remainder of 2020 and through 2021 with lots of other perks. Visit SeaWorldSanAntonio.com to learn more.

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